I have a funny hat

Many of our Christmas songs come from the golden age of music. It is easy to forget how old some of these songs, given that so many are re-recorded each year by whatever flavor of the week pop star is topping the charts at the moment. These standards, belted out by middle school choirs across the nation every December, usually follow the same theme -- peace, joy, merriment, love in spite of absence, and cold weather.

Growing up, there were five or six CDs that were play ad infinitum around Christmas. I looked in my iTunes and see that, aside from a handful of freebies (let's face it, they aren't worth much come January), my Christmas music collection is a bit light.

It is true, though -- take away the music, and you do not have much in terms of a Christmas celebration. It is no mistake that the heavenly choirs sang as the only appropriate way to announce the birth of a child. Christmas music has this strange ability to melt away the seasonal doldrums an cynicism that typically come from being burn out on shopping and holiday tidings of comfort and joy. Make no mistake though -- sometimes, one more rousing of Jingle Bells will send anyone into madness by the time Christmas actually comes.

Tonight, Samantha and I went to a late jazz ensemble performance at our church. I admit to not having gone a lot this year. The music was fantastic as always, reminding me one of one of the many benefits of living in Nashville -- if you hear somebody perform music, you can bet that they have a higher standard to live up to. It definitely put me in the festive mood.

But if the music and lights can bring out the joy of Christmas, what really cements it for me is the quiet and still of Christmas Eve. That stillness is where I can forget the morning e-mails, the awaiting work week, my cares and worries. Without a doubt, 2010 has been an excellent year. We moved to East Nashville, I got a promotion at work, and made many new friendships. I finish each year feeling more blessed than the last. My heart is filled with those blessings as I sit quietly looking at our meager tree, tuning out the sounds around me and sitting in calm reflection.

Peace on earth, goodwill to all. May your 2011 be better than 2010. From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.